There was mixed news from the giant British retailer Marks & Spencer on Tuesday.
It plans to start returning excess cash to shareholders on a regular basis, but also warned its new website – which is seen as vital for future growth through international sales – would take up to six months to “settle in”.
A more efficient supply chain boosted profitability, and in-store clothing sales picked up following three years of decline, but annual profit before tax and one-off items was down nearly four percent from the previous year at 623 million pounds (765 million euros).
The general merchandise division, made up of clothing, footwear and homewares, has posted 11 consecutive quarters of underlying sales declines. Profits have been propped up by 18 straight quarters of growth at M&S’s food business.
The latest profit fall means no bosses or staff will receive a bonus this year.